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You might start a war among Star Trek fans by asking which generation was better. All of them have their merits, but some would say that the original show had the best cast with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. But other stars are not far behind, especially actresses like Whoopi Goldberg, Jeri Ryan, and Kate Mulgrew. Many of them even cameoed on The Big Bang Theory. Can you recognize them from more recent roles?
You probably know that William Shatner was one of the most important cast members on the show's original version. He played Captain James T. Kirk in the late 1960s. The Canadian actor has had an amazing career in all parts of entertainment, such as music, comic books, and more.
He continues to act, and younger viewers probably remember him best from The Practice, Boston Legal, and Better Late Than Never. Shatner even voiced Captain Kirk for the animated series once the original run was canceled. The actor also appeared in many franchise films, and you might have seen him in a cameo on The Big Bang Theory.
The actress played Nyota Uhura during the original run of the show. The character was in charge of communications on the Enterprise. Nichols is a pioneer, as an African-American on television was so rare in the late 1960s. Interestingly, she joined NASA years after the series ended.
Nichols also appeared on The Young & the Restless. However, between 1977 and 2015, she worked at NASA’s Women in Motion program. A documentary of it will be released in 2021. Unfortunately, the actress retired from entertainment in 2018 after being diagnosed with dementia.
Takei played Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu on the original run. The actor was one of the first to portray an Asian character that wasn’t a villain on American television. Before landing the role on Star Trek, Takei appeared on The Twilight Zone just like Shatner.
In the past decades, Takei became an LGBTQ+ rights activist and even appeared on Broadway’s Allegiance, a play based on his family’s experience in Japan during WWII. He has an active social media following and has lent his voice to animated films like Kubo and the Two Strings.
The actor played Ensign Pavel Chekov on the original run of the show. Legend states that he got the role because he looked like the teen heartthrob, Davy Jones, and showrunners wanted to attract audiences. Koenig ended up being a vital part of the franchise and even wrote episodes for the animated series.
You might also remember the actor from Babylon 5. Fans of the franchise often see him at conventions. Meanwhile, he voiced the character of Mr. Savic on Netflix’s Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters. Additionally, Koenig maintains a close friendship with George Takei. He was even the best man at Takei’s wedding!
Leonard Nimoy played the character of Commander Spock, a half-human, half-Vulcan alien. His species are known for being purely logical. His signature farewell, “Live Long and Prosper,” became a motto for Star Trek fans. Unlike some of the other actors on this list, Nimoy only did voice work after the show ended.
Sadly, the actor died in 2015 at the age of 83. His final appearance as Spock was in Star Trek Into Darkness. Therefore, he played the same character for five decades and was the only OG star to appear in J.J. Abrams’ reboot. He even directed two films in the franchise: The Search for Spock and The Journey Home.
It’s time for the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which ran from 1987 to 1994. Stewart played the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and the show catapulted the actor into A-list status in Hollywood. He also appeared in other sci-fi franchises and is loved by fans worldwide.
You might remember that he also played Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise. Additionally, he is a stage actor and has lent his voice to several projects. But Stewart returned to his role as Jean-Luc on Star Trek: Picard, which airs on CBS All Access. Season Two should premiere in 2021.
Jonathan Frakes played Commander William Riker on Next Gen. While he was still on the show, the actor became a director for First Contact in 1996. In 2004, he also directed Thunderbirds film. Like other actors on the list, he also did a lot of voice-acting after the show ended.
Frakes was the host of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. Younger generations probably remember him better from Nickelodeon’s The Astronauts. Furthermore, he has also advanced his directing career, leading episodes from NCIS, The Orville, and other Star Trek spin-offs.
Brent Spiner played the role of Lieutenant Commander Data in the late 1980s version. Interestingly, he has a web series called Fresh Hell, where he light-heartedly jokes about his character. He continued a pretty solid career on television, but just like others on this list, he has returned to the world of Star Trek as well.
You might also recognize him for movies like Independence Day and the sequel. He also lent his voice for Star Wars: Rebels. Additionally, he appeared on Patrick Stewart’s Blunt Talk. The actor returned to the franchise as Dr. Arik Soong in Star Trek: Enterprise.
Dorn played the role of Lieutenant Worf in Next Gen, but the actor continued to play the character on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which ran from 1995 to 1999. Due to his booming voice, he has also worked for video games like World of Warcraft and Saints Row.
After completing both spin-offs of Star Trek, he focused mostly on voicing characters for video games. He also appeared in a few episodes of Family Guy, Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and countless other animated series. Furthermore, Dorn has recently said that he wants a Worf miniseries.
Burton played the role of Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge in Next Gen. You might have also seen him as a funny version of himself on shows like Community and The Big Bang Theory. Recently, the actor hopes to become the next host of Jeopardy! What do you think?
The actor also hosted Reading Rainbow and appeared in Perception. Burton famously appeared in the miniseries Roots as Kunta Kinte and worked on Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Meanwhile, LeVar was recently the executive producer of the Roots remake in 2016.
Gates McFadden embodied Doctor Beverly Crusher on Next Gen. Interestingly, she was written out of the show to add Dr. Katherine Pulaski, played by Diana Muldaur. However, the actress returned to her role in Season Three. Do you remember seeing her comeback back then?
The actress continued her career after the show ended, appearing on many TV series. Additionally, McFadden became an acting teacher at several schools. She is now the co-artistic director of the Ensemble Studio Theater of Los Angeles. The actress appeared on several episodes of The Marker, NCIS, and Franklin & Bash.
You might recognize Wil Wheaton best if you were a fan of The Big Bang Theory. The actor played the role of Wesley Crusher on Next Gen and constantly appeared on the sitcom. He was Sheldon’s archnemesis in the beginning. Meanwhile, the actor is still active in entertainment.
Wheaton has millions of followers on several social media platforms. He also hosted The Wil Wheaton Project on the Syfy channel and recently appeared on Rival Speak. Additionally, Wheaton lent his voice to Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters and other animated series.
Crosby played the role of Lieutenant Natasha Yar on the Next Gen. Curiously; she was cast as Deanna Troi. However, they swapped her place with Marina Sirtis. Sadly, Yar was killed after 22 episodes. But she produced and narrated a couple of documentaries about Trekkies.
Despite her short-lived time on the show, the actress continued her career. You might recognize her best for shows like Ray Donovan and Suits. She was also in three episodes of The Walking Dead and Southland. Hopefully, we’ll see more of her soon enough!
As mentioned earlier, Sirtis took over the role of Counselor Deanna Troi on Next Gen. Her character was a huge fan favorite, and the actress continued her career pretty successfully. She has several movies on pre and post-production at the moment. So, you’ll be seeing a lot of her for a long while!
But younger generations probably recognize the actress best from Young Justice. She also appeared in Star Trek Continues, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, and more cameos in other franchise projects. The actress was part of Riley Parra as well.
Whoopi Goldberg’s fame has never waned, even after the show ended. She played Guinan on Next Gen, but she already had an Academy Award nomination for The Color Purple. The actress was also a respected comedian. Goldberg also reprised the role for two films in the franchise.
The actress continued a successful career in movies such as Sister Act and the sequel. The third installment is currently in pre-production. She also became the moderator for The View in 2007. Early 2021, there were several rumors that Goldberg might be leaving the daytime talk show, but she is still holding strong. Are you excited to see her on the show M.O.D.O.K.?
Now it’s time for some of the cast of Star Trek: Voyager. Mulgrew played Captain Kathryn Janeway on the show, which ran from 1995 to 2001. Actress Geneviève Bujold originally had the role but quit just two days into filming. So, Mulgrew took her place, and the rest is history.
You might also recognize the actress for The Black Donnellys, Mercy, and Orange Is the New Black, where she played Red. Meanwhile, Mulgrew recently published a memoir called Born with Teeth, where she wrote about being adopted and struggling after an assault.
Dawson was Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres on this spin-off. While she wasn’t a newbie when she joined the show, the actress didn’t have a lot of recognition. Her character ended up marrying Tom Paris, played by Robert Duncan McNeill. They also had a baby together.
After the show ended, Dawson continued her career in Hollywood behind the camera. She directed episodes of popular shows such as Charmed, Mercy Street, and Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Her other credits include The Mentalist, The Good Wife, Rosewood, and many others. As a producer, the actress worked on Scandal and Cold Case.
Ryan played the role of Seven of Nine on Voyager. The actress gained notoriety after appearing on Dark Skies. Although the series was canceled early on, she had connections in the sci-fi world and eventually became the Borg that appeared for the first time on Season Four.
Ryan is beloved by fans for many different genres. You might recognize her from Shark, The O.C., Law & Order: SVU, and Boston Public. More recently, the actress appears on Amazon’s Bosch. You can follow her on social media, as she shares pictures of her family with her chef husband, Christophe Émé.
Picardo played The Doctor on Voyager. Interestingly, the actor originally studied pre-med at Yale University before he changed to the drama department. Furthermore, he auditioned for the role of Neelix but was called back to read to this one.
The actor truly loved the sci-fi genre, as he appeared on Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate SG-1 after the show ended. He also lent his voice for the Justice League animation. Additionally, Picardo became a member of The Planetary Society created by Carl Sagan. So, he ended up working with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye on several occasions.
Wang played Ensign Harry Kim on the show. The actor was just 25 years old when he first started, and he never got a raise during his time on the show. Showrunners even considered ending his contract after Season Three when they needed to make room for Jeri Ryan. But that year, he appeared on the list of 50 Most Beautiful People, and they dropped someone else.
After the show ended, Wang appeared in a couple of movies. He was also on Rage Against the Machine’s music video Sleep Now in the Fire. However, in 2005, the actor decided to retire from the industry as it was all about reality TV. Since then, he has attended a couple of Star Trek conventions. In 2010, he became the director of the “Star Trek Track” at Dragon Con.
As mentioned earlier, Phillips played Neelix on Voyager. He had already worked on several shows and movies by the time he got the role. He even guest-starred as Ferengi on an episode of Next Gen. But the actor got his big break on Benson. His character made it to the final season, and they finished his story before the finale.
You might have seen him recently as Spike Martin on Avenue 5, which was recently renewed for a second season. Additionally, he worked on HBO’s Girls, where he played Hannah Horvath’s dad. But the actor mostly appeared in a few episodes of many different shows such as Better Call Saul, Boston Legal, Criminal Minds, The Good Guys, and countless others.
Many beloved faces are missing, but it’s a show that has air since the 1960s. Its followers are something amazing, and they are loyal to the franchise over time. Let us know which generation was your favorite. If you liked this article, share it with your friends that love Star Trek. See you next time!